Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly, and other guests joined Milwaukee Public Schools on Tuesday morning to celebrate the first day of school on the traditional start calendar. The festivities took place at Maryland Avenue Montessori School on Milwaukee’s east side.
Students walked the red carpet, through a blue and gold balloon arch, as local and state officials, the MPS superintendent, board members, and district staff cheered them into school and Riverside University High School band members played.
“Each year presents a new opportunity for educators and students alike to grow and learn, inspire and create new connections,” said Evers, who welcomed students, parents, teachers, and staff to a new school year.
Evers, who took note of the work that goes on to prepare for the first day of school by teachers, maintenance crews, families, and others, himself served as state superintendent of schools before becoming governor.
Later, in a kindergarten classroom, a student told Evers, “I’m 5.”
“I’m 71,” the governor told her.
Underly, the current state superintendent of schools, said, “This is my favorite day of the school year. … Just seeing the kids’ faces as they’re walking up the red carpet during the bell ringing, and seeing the excitement in their eyes to start another year — I’m excited to see what they’re ready to do next.”
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley observed that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Montessori education in Milwaukee Public Schools.
“Maryland Avenue Montessori School is a model campus, with a representation of academic excellence and high standards. Their program inspires the curiosity of young people through creative choices and hands-on learning,” Posley said.
Joseph DiCarlo, who has been the Maryland Avenue Montessori Principal for 16 years, noted that Milwaukee — with eight Montessori schools enrolling about 4,000 students each year — has “the largest and most well-supported public Montessori system in the country.”
“On a more personal note,” DiCarlo added, “I’ve been immersed in Montessori education professionally for over 30 years, but my journey started when I was 2½ years old. I was a Montessori child back in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and when I came here 24 years ago, I heard about the phenomenal community here in Milwaukee. I can’t say enough about it.”
Others attending the Maryland Avenue event included Milwaukee Board of School Directors members Marva Herndon, Jilly Gokalgandhi, Henry Leonard, and Missy Zombor; Milwaukee Ald. Jonathan Brostoff; Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association President Amy Mizialko; and Administrators and Supervisors Council Executive Director Steven Lubar.
“As we embark on another school year, I want us to be reminded of the potential within each student, within each classroom, and within all of the Milwaukee public schools,” Posley said. “This is happening in 156 different locations. Education is going on every day in Milwaukee Public Schools.”
School classrooms and Maryland Avenue’s rain garden, raised produce beds, and orchard were open for tours to guests and media. At Maryland Avenue Montessori, classrooms are multi-aged; children are grouped K3-K5, 1-3, 4-6, and 7-8.
Underly and other officials from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on Tuesday morning also visited Rogers Street Academy, at 2430 W. Rogers Street, and A.E. Burdick School, at 4348 S. Griffin Avenue.
Maryland Avenue Montessori School is located at 2418 N. Maryland Avenue, Milwaukee.